You know a campaign is going really badly when freezing up like a deer in the headlights for 32 seconds because you lost a page of your speech is only the second worst thing you've done. And yet, that's where Jeanine Pirro, Republican candidate for New York attorney general, finds herself today. If only she had been rendered as speechless when the government was taping her friend, disgraced ex-New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik. Then she wouldn't have been accidentally overheard asking Kerik to bug her husband's boat when she thought he was cheating on her. (Hey, did you and Bernie talk at his secret love pad overlooking Ground Zero? Just wondering). And there would have been no reason to launch a federal investigation into whether she actually did illegally bug her husband. (She and Kerik both say it was just talk).
Fortunately for those of us who enjoy a little politics with our soap operas, she won't let a federal investigation force her to drop out of the race for the state's top law enforcement job.
"I'm standing up for myself and I'm standing up for women," the plucky Ms Pirro declared.
Um, that's ok, girlfriend, no need to stand up for women. Your marriage, like your candidacy, is not going to be remembered as a feminist cause. A lot of women can empathize with the rage and pain you felt last year when you suspected your husband, Big So-Not-Gay Al of cheating on you (again).
But spare us your righteous indignation, the claims that you're a victim of a political witch hunt, that the rules are different for women. True, sealed documents shouldn't be leaked to reporters. But if you're looking around to see who is victimizing you, perhaps you should look a little closer to home.
Your marriage is your personal business and you don't have to explain it to anyone. If you want to stay with a guy who a) fathered a child out of wedlock, b) went to prison for tax evasion c) has been suspected of doing business deals with mob figures and d) was twice ticketed for speeding this summer, that's your call. Still, you have to understand why the public finds it interesting, to say the least.
In fact, a new Marist/WNBC-TV poll finds that most New Yorkers think Pirro is being treated fairly, (66%), and more than half said they have a right to know whether she's the target of an investigation.
My absolute favorite part of this tawdry tale is the comment an anonymous Republican Party official made to the New York Times Thursday:
"This was one of the reasons we wanted her to run for Senate--all this awful Al Pirro stuff would cloud her credentials to be the top law enforcement officer."
Right, because you don't need "unclouded" credentials to be a Republican Senator, is that it? Being ethically challenged is apparently no barrier to entry.
In an interview with WCBS-TV, Ms. Pirro said she doubted law enforcement agents would go after a male candidate because of his wife's actions. But the investigation was prompted by Jeanine's actions, not Albert's. She was the one caught on tape discussing how to bug her husband.
When I wrote Naked Republicans, A Full Frontal Exposure of Right-Wing Hypocrisy and Greed, I thought Katherine Harris was the Republican party's Worst Candidate Ever. Now, it seems Jeanine Pirro is giving Ms. Harris a real run for her money. They'll both lose, but here's hoping we get to watch them campaign again soon.